Family struggles with unexpected deployment to Afghanistan - - Columbia, South Carolina

Family struggles with unexpected deployment to Afghanistan

By Stephen Hooker - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - As the buildup in Afghanistan continues, our Midlands neighbors are answering the call, even during the holidays.  

One family heard only a few days ago that their husband and father would be leaving shortly.

Chris Neeley is basically a civilian, a family man employed by the Walmart Corporation. He's also a South Carolina National Guardsman. His wife, Janie, agreed with him joining as a part-time soldier.

"It was a joint decision as a family, he joined after 9/11," said Janie Neely.

"I knew at some point in my career I'd be deployed, but I just didn't know it was going to happen so soon," said Chris Neeley.

Last week, Chris was summoned by his commanding officer and told he's going to Afghanistan.

"The next thought was, 'well, I've got to tell Janie and the kids,' and that's when I got that anxiety feeling in my heart," Chris Neely recalled.

That night after dinner, Chris broke the news.

"When he told me I thought it was a really bad joke," said Janie Neely.

"She said, 'no what's really going on? You're not joking are you?' 'No, I'm going to Afghanistan, and I'm leaving in three weeks,'" described Chris Neely.

Some moments are frozen in time. That moment between Chris and Janie is theirs alone, yet these days it's repeated thousands of times across our country.

"I know I'm going to go there and we're going to have a great mission and we're going to have a lot of success," said Chris Neely.

But now that it's happening, does Janie share her husband's fighting spirit?

"This is an opportunity for me to teach my children that there's some causes that are greater than ourselves and that we need to make sacrifices," she said.

But what about the children, Jordan and her younger brother Tucker?

"Yeah, it's going to be harder, we have to get along more and we don't usually get along too well," said Jordan.

"You know, you're going to have to be the big man," Chris told Jordan. "Are you going to be the big man of the house for Mama?"

"Uh huh," Tucker replied.

"As hard as this may be and as difficult as it is, it's something that our family believes in," said Janie.

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